Surfing is now an Olympic sport, and it’s about damn time
It’s finally been confirmed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Earlier this month surfing was officially approved as an Olympic event, set to be added to the sports programme in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Since I took up surfing, it’s pretty much taken over my life – and I haven’t looked back since. Surfing finally becoming an Olympic event only cements how much of a positive thing it is.
It’s great exercise
Soon after surfing for the first time, you realise just how much hard work it actually is. After paddling as hard as you can for your first ever wave and still not having the strength or momentum to actually catch it, you realise just how committed you need to be to building more upper-body strength.
In a world full of bad lifestyle choices, rife with fast food and poor diets, people being motivated to go and try a sport they have seen on the Olympics is always going to be a good thing.
And the other health benefits are amazing
It’s hard to worry about anything whilst out the back catching waves. Surfing is relaxing and fun, and with this comes a chilled out mindset that makes you realise nothing really matters (other than surfing) while surfing.
With a larger presence in the media and everyday society that the Olympics will bring, more people will become inspired to try surfing, and they too will benefit from the good vibes of it.
It’s great for exploring
It’s easy to think of surfing as strictly a tropical paradise activity. The common misconception is that surfing is an exotic dream, exclusive to the warm waters of places like Hawaii and Bali.
The truth is, recent wetsuit advances make surfing possible in even the coldest of places. It’s a fast-growing sport in Canada, and some people really pushing the sport are even catching waves way up in the Arctic Circle.
Surfing throughout winter in Britain is also more than comfortable in a winter suit, and even when it does get a bit chilly, there’s something strangely invigorating about having a numb face, and getting an ice-cream headache every time you go under.
And of course, the Olympics will prove that surfing is possible in all sorts of places.
The technological advances are incredible
So how is it going to be possible to surf when the Olympics is held landlocked countries? The recent advance in man-made wave pool technology is making surfing more accessible in places it should never even be possible.
Prime examples of this are Kelly Slater’s wave pool, and the Surf Snowdonia pool in the Welsh mountains. It’s a strange concept that surfing doesn’t even require the sea, or the raw force of nature to create waves any more, and some surfers don’t like the idea of this.
However, the positives to come from this is that the Olympics, and wave pools alone can bring the surfing experience to places and people who otherwise would never get to experience it.
It has a low environmental impact
With the industrialisation of the ocean, and ports, oil rigs and other practices having a severely detrimental impact on oceans and habitats action needs to be taken against this.
A huge part of surfing is having respect and care for the ocean, and taking action against these issues. A passion for the sea that comes with surfing is something that will only grow in awareness when surfing becomes more present in the media.
When surfing gains more popularity through the Olympics, people will hopefully take the destruction of ocean habitats and surf spots a lot more seriously. There will be more people to campaign and put pressure on the companies industrialising the sea for their own capital gain.
It’s about time that more people become passionate and aware of ocean sustainability. At the very least, what Olympic athlete is really going to agree to compete in polluted waters?
It can be argued that the ever-growing popularity of surfing is going to make surf spots too crowded, and that the strong media presence may take something away from the sport – but these are selfish reasons to not want surfing to grow in to something more.
After all, there are always going to be empty waves to be found with a bit of exploration. Raising awareness and popularity for surfing is going to be a real benefit of it now being an Olympic event.
It’s a great opportunity to get more people involved with the sport, and to create a sustainable love for the ocean among a whole new generation of surfers.